Since we’re taking a close look at coffee this month, I figured I’d extend the caffiene obsession to the beer world. And much like last month’s chocolate beers, we’re once again largely in the world of roasty dark beers. (Though not exclusively: You can find lighter coffee beers now and then – Yards, collaborating with Einstok, made an amazing coffee pale ale last year called Snorri’s Awakening.) But for the purposes of this column, we’ll keep it traditional – stouts and porters ahoy!
Founders Breakfast Stout
The absolute classic in terms of coffee stouts is probably Founders Breakfast Stout. It’s world-famous, and its blend of chocolate, coffee and oatmeal is the gold standard for this style of beer. The taste is all black coffee up front, with the rich, chocolatey sweetness coming in later, before the whole thing finishes with a perfect balance of all the ingredients and flavors. If you’re only going to have one coffee stout, this is the one to have.
Spring House Planet Bean
But if you want to branch out, how about staying local? Lancaster’s Spring House Brewing Co.’s Planet Bean is a fantastic coffee stout made with locally roasted beans. At 8.6 percent ABV, it’s about as strong as the Founders, but the flavor profile is quite different – while FBS focuses on blending a long list of flavors, Planet Bean is all about getting as much coffee into the taste as possible. It’s like your morning cup of joe, just served in a pint glass.
Left Hand Hard Wired
This year, there’s a newcomer to the world of coffee beers that I’m really enjoying. Colorado’s Left Hand Brewing has introduced Hard Wired, a coffee porter, as part of its Nitro Series. Like any nitrogenated beer, Hard Wired has a lovely, silk-smooth body thanks to those tiny bubbles. The coffee taste is a little more subtle here, but that creamy texture lends the whole thing an almost latte-like vibe. And at 6 percent ABV, this is one coffee brew that’s downright sessionable.
Which coffee brews have you tried recently?